I'm working on an update of my annual HM Prices survey. Here's the one from last year:www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_
One problem I've wrestled with is whether to compare regular prices or early-bird prices. For instance, I just received an email from a race I did last year. The email says registration is open but when I went to register, it turns out the early-bird period had already passed. How was I supposed to take advantage of the early bird price when I didn't even know about it?
Some races have the opposite problem: If you don't register very quickly, they fill up. The regular price is misleading because no one ever pays it.
And even for less popular races, "regular" prices aren't comparable either. Some HMs have "regular" prices that end four months pre-race while some end 1 week pre-race! And yet others have a sliding scale with 4 or 5 different prices as the races draws closer.
How best to indicate all this complexity?
Or should I just declare that I'm going to do an apples-to-apples comparison and pick a date (say, 3 months pre-race) as the price to use? Initially, I thought that would be good enough since 3 months is about as early as I bother to register but I know people who register for races as soon as they open. Some people make serious travel plans around their races.
This verges somewhat into the quandry of whether to register early/late so I thought I'd make a list to see if there's an obvious reason to lean one way or the other. Here's my first cut:
Reasons for registering early:
- Lowest rate
- Guarantee of getting in.
- Helps some people get motivated to train.
- Some races only guarantee shirts/sizes to earlier registrants.
- More time to convince other friends to join in.
Reasons for registering late:
- Flexibility to choose different activities/races later.
- No risk (or guilt) of making an injury worse if already mildly injured
- No loss of money if:
--- haven't trained
--- weather doesn't suit you
- You can see which races your friends have registered for.
Yes, not all of these apply to all races or all people. I'm not trying to make explain hard rules. But I do get the feeling that for most people here, early registration helps with motivation. Personally, I'm on the other side - I'd rather pay more for the flexibility. (Or stick to races that have low-cost late registration.)
So what's the best way to show this? Spreadsheet with prices that are 1 week out, 1 month out, 3 months, 6 months? Does everyone fall into one of this camps? Or would you prefer a different period?
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